22 January 2020
So. We moved.
Our landlords sold the house. George, the husband, had a job that required him to leave at 5:00 AM to drive for a couple of hours, and had decided that this was untenable. Their plan had been to wait until their youngest was through college –this was his freshman year – and then move south to avoid the snow. Now, they told us, they were buying a house nearer to George’s work, and had actually made an offer.
Liz, the wife, said that she didn’t want to move – she’d always lived in the urban area, was somewhat agoraphobic, and, moving out into the exurbs, was concerned about bears. (Not as silly as it sounds – there are a good number of black bears in Eastern Mass and NH now). But, she said, the Bible puts the husband at the head of the house, so she had to do what he said. I would, at this point, have been questioning my beliefs, but I kept that to myself. (I did try it on Mrs. Professor, later, to her quite robust amusement).
Our hope was that the new owners would want stable, dependable tenants, so we crossed our fingers and waited. Unfortunately, the realtor, who did not seem at all interested in the property (he scheduled several viewings and didn’t show for them), took the very first offer, from people who wanted to turn the place into an “Air B&B”. (My sister, who owns several actual B&Bs, was somewhat scornful at the whole scheme). They demanded the building vacated.
We were told we had three weeks to vacate. You can imagine the probability. We did a little research and found that if they had gone to court to get us evicted, we could have requested a stay to find new digs, and a couple in their sixties with a disabled member would have gotten at least a year’s grace. We pointed this out to them. Still, we didn’t want to be obnoxious, so we apartment hunted furiously.
It turned out we couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more.
Let me repeat that. It turned out we couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more. The lovely Mrs. Professor had never lived more than two blocks from where we were, and had constantly gotten BS about living in a poor area. But now gentrification has arrived. There was a triple-decker across the street with an apartment for rent, and they wanted $3200 a month for it. Forty years ago, you could probably have bought the place for that amount per floor. We couldn’t afford to live in Dorchester any more.
We started looking in Quincy, south across the river, where I had lived from 1965 to 1985, and where our church and some friends were. When I got there, 55 years ago, the town was solid Catholic, Irish and a community of Italians, many of which were still in the stonecutter trade. Now, it’s at least 30% Chinese, with five big Asian supermarkets and entire areas with little or no English in the store windows. We bounced off this community a couple of times, including an apartment tour that lasted a good 25 seconds (“That’s the kitchen, here the bedroom, we go now.”) and a woman who told Janet if we had that many books, we “break house” and not to come.
Then we found a condo for rent that suited a lot of our needs – no stairs, room for all my books (currently, 3,981 of them), a walk-in tub for Janet’s arthritis. So we moved. We’re in post-war housing, which I swore I’d never do, but now we have a kitchen (and not just an empty room with a stove in it), and a dish washer, and a washer & dryer, and indoor parking (out of the snow), and a big deck. Mind, it’s electric everything (stove and heating included), and last month we got a $600 electric bill, but we can cope. It’s less than half a mile to the Quincy Square T stop, so if I ever get a damn job I can get there conveniently.
Though, true, I have not yet learned to dance for Flannigan’s ball.